Remote learning planned for two more elementary districts in Lake County
Continuing concern regarding the coronavirus has prompted two more elementary school districts in Lake County to reverse course on bringing students back to class.
Mundelein District 75 will start the year with remote learning for all students, and the recommendation to the school board in Diamond Lake District 76, which will discuss the matter Tuesday, is to do the same.
The actions follow similar decisions last week by the school boards in Libertyville District 70 and Vernon Hills-based Hawthorn District 73.
Both initially planned to offer a choice of in-school or remote learning. However, with the spike in coronavirus cases and fear of potentially lengthy and disruptive absences, each determined remote learning would be the safest option at this point.
Other districts are following suit.
"That's the last thing we want to do -- open for two weeks and then shut it down," said District 75 school board President Kevin Holly.
The initial recommendation was to have students at Washington Early Learning Center and Mechanics Grove School attend classes in person five days a week, while Carl Sandburg Middle School students alternated daily between in-person and remote instruction.
District 75 officials approved the idea July 14 with the caveat the situation could change.
After consulting with individual school board members, Kevin Myers, superintendent for District 75 and Mundelein High School District 120, pulled the plug.
Returning to school "almost certainly" would result in cases of the virus among students and staff, Myers said in a letter to parents. The required quarantine period would "greatly affect the family environment and learning atmosphere," he added.
Also, a return to the buildings would make it impossible for all students to be there at the same time and maintain six feet of distance, according to Myers.
Cleaning all used classrooms multiple times in a day, issues with students being on buses and how lunches could be accommodated were other concerns, he added.
The new start date will be Aug. 27 for grades 1 through 8, and Aug. 31 for preschool/early childhood and kindergarten.
More details will be provided at the Aug 18 school board meeting.
In a letter Monday to parents, Diamond Lake Superintendent Bhavna Sharma-Lewis said she is recommending changing the return to school plan based on new information, staff review and family survey results.
"The revisions to our plans are based upon minimizing risk to students and staff, as we have watched COVID-19 numbers increase and programs close down due to positive cases," she said.
A new full remote learning plan will be presented and the board will take action Tuesday night. Detailed information for families and staff will follow.
Elsewhere, Green Oaks-based Oak Grove District 68 is holding a special meeting Wednesday to determine how it will proceed.